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Originally posted by Sahabi
Sigmund Freud's theoretical concepts of the psyche are safe and clean. However, are we merely Ego, Super Ego, and Id? Fundamentally, and at the most basic of conceptualizations, are these 3 concepts the raw core of who we are? I say no.
The attributes you have associated with the Id are characteristics of the R-Complex, or Reptilian Mind.
The attributes you have associated with the Super Ego are characteristics of both the Left and Right hemispheres of the brain.
The attributes you have associated with Ego is actually the observer, the watcher, consciousness, and awareness.
Basically, the Freudian concepts of Ego, Super Ego, and Id only focus on mind. The Freudian model is out-dated in my opinion.
Here's how I understand human existence:
Universal Consciousness (All/One, Highest Self) --->
Ego (Illusionist of Separation) --->
Lower Self (Individual Identity) --->
Instincts (R-Complex) + Emotions (Heart, Feminine, Right-Hemisphere) +'Thoughts (Mind, Masculine, Left-Hemisphere)
"Cogito ergo sum" in no way discounts or diminishes the idea that even without thought existence is. Indeed, Descartes wrote Meditations on First Philosophy: In Which the Existence of God and the Immortality of the Soul are Demonstrated, published in 1614. Descartes makes it clear in the preface of this book that his aim is to find philosophical evidence of God that offers a more scientific approach than the theological approach which he argues is a circular reasoning of "we must believe in God because the scriptures tell us so". In his meditations, he employs a method of radical doubt as a way to undermine his own belief system. He does this because he remembers plenty of times where his physical senses have failed him, or misled him. It was in his earlier work Discourse on the Method where Descartes first presented his "I think, therefore I am" single certainty among a sea of doubt. He, however, did not present this idea in Latin first, but rather in French: "Je pense donc je suis," allowing him to reach a much wider audience than the more famous "Cogito ergo sum" Latin phrase would have allowed. Descartes understood the limitations of this single certainty and spoke to these limitations. "I think therefore I am" offers no philosophical proof for existence of the body, only the mind, and while the "mind/body problem" was nothing new for Western philosophers, Descartes single certainty brought the "mind/body problem" back to the forefront of philosophical debate, ultimately leading to the disparate philosophical camps of Dualism and Monism. Descartes was in the Dualist camp, and believed that the mind is a separate substance that that of the body. Descartes never made any arguments that the only way for this separate substance known as the mind to exist is through thought alone. He only stumbled upon the certainty that because he doubted, this was thought, and because he thought, his mind existed.
This said, it is pointless to attempt to compare and contrast Eastern philosophy with Western philosophy, particularly any Eastern philosophy written in Chinese characters. The Chinese written language is far, far, far, less linear than Western language, and one might reasonably argue it is far, far, far, more quantum in its approach. Attempting to translate what has been written in Chinese characters into a linear language is only doing a great disservice to what was actually written in Chinese.
To remain undisturbed is sound advice, method, and practice in any culture, and no one needs to in any way diminish the Ego in order to remain undisturbed. I suspect the Ego has no problem with remaining undisturbed, or being gentle in doing right, and can easily understand the duality of good and evil, beauty and ugly, and victory and defeat. Indeed, if one is to master the stillness of thought, it is arguable they are far more likely to accomplish such a goal through their Ego than their Id. The Id lacks the necessary patience and forethought to understand the value of remaining undisturbed.
And in reading this last paragraph, I see that it kind of illustrates my point about the difficulty in discussing ego in the first place. After all you clearly mention ego being capabale of being still and undesturbed, but if you go to descriptions of what is translated as ego in eastern texts it is incapabale of stillness, in fact in eastern texts it is often described as being "the monkey mind" ie it is always in motion and always producing thought, like a monkey chattering endlessly in the trees and its only when one learns to silence that part of the mind; ego, that one can truly experence the empty or still mind, which is seen as the true nature or state of mind in eastern philosophies.
reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
This is actually what I was attempting to get at in my initial post in this thread. I suspect that whatever word (or words or character(s)) Eastern philosophers are using to describe "chattering monkeys" the lost in the translation problem lies with the linear languages of a collective Western culture who, for lack of any other word, translate whatever word is being used to describe "chattering monkey mind" into meaning Ego, but that this is just an attempt to find a Western word that would generally conflate with this word describing "chattering monkey mind".
There is nothing about an Ego that requires constant thought. That said, there are Western philosophers, most notably Ayn Rand, who too easily dismiss Eastern thought, particularly Zen, based upon the translation they were given. Rand understood the translation of the word Zen to mean "the way of no thought". This is a much different translation than the one I have been given for that word. I understand Zen to mean "the way of the small thought". The latter makes much more sense than the Rand's understanding in the former translation, and based on her understanding one can understand where a rationalist would cringe at such an idea such as "no thought".
At any rate, I am not so certain that this "chattering monkey mind" is actually called an Ego in Eastern philosophy and the conflation is derived from Western translators desperately looking for Western words that might fit into the context of whatever word was used to describe "chattering monkey mind".
Scientific holism holds that the behavior of a system cannot be perfectly predicted, no matter how much data is available. Natural systems can produce surprisingly unexpected behavior, and it is suspected that behavior of such systems might be computationally irreducible, which means it would not be possible to even approximate the system state without a full simulation of all the events occurring in the system. Key properties of the higher level behavior of certain classes of systems may be mediated by rare "surprises" in the behavior of their elements due to the principle of interconnectivity, thus evading predictions except by brute force simulation. Stephen Wolfram has provided such examples with simple cellular automata, whose behavior is in most cases equally simple, but on rare occasions highly unpredictable.
Originally posted by tetra50
reply to post by ottobot
IMHO, the whole is in fact greater than the sum of its parts.